KSAFA U20s scrapped! - Ricketts warns about negative effects on Olympic qualifying
President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Michael Ricketts, said the cancellation of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Under 20 football competition this year will affect the federation's ability to scout talents for the Under 23 programme, which is looking to create history by qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
"It certainly will affect us because we will not be able to see them in a game situation," Ricketts said.
On Tuesday, president of KSAFA, Wayne Shaw, announced that the competition will not be held this year due to a lack of sponsorship.
"We had a choice between the under-17s and the under-20s, and we said we would work with the under 17s because the under-20s have a chance to play in the Super League or the Premier League," Shaw said. "So for development purposes, the under-17 is more important."
Ricketts said that his coaches will have to utilise other methods to identify players to take part in the under-23 programme.
"What we will have to do is ask KSAFA to give us a list of the better under-20 players who would have played in that competition and we select from there," Ricketts said. "We are looking at a number of the under-18s right now who are in the Premier League. We will also have to move around the parishes and see how best we can identify the better players."
The JFF has already listed 50 players who could be selected for the under-23 programme.
Ricketts said that he is hoping to have a group of players in training as early as June at the UWI/JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence. "Hopefully, the centre will be ready and we will house them there and have a real proper selection process," Ricketts said.
Ricketts, who is in his first tenure as president of the JFF, said that the method being deployed with the under- 23 Olympic campaign is similar to the one which was used for the 1998 World Cup campaign.
"We want to replicate the '98 campaign and, hopefully, we will create history by getting to the Olympics for the first time. We are getting support from the JOA (Jamaica Olympic Association)," Ricketts said. "After that, we will start our World Cup campaign and we want to use the players from the under-23 with the senior players to get the perfect blend."